Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. The Guide is developed based on data from nearly 96,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce. There are two lists. The “Dirty Dozen” lists produce varieties that have most pesticide contamination so you should always buy these organic or avoid them. The other list is the “Clean 15”, the produce the EWG has found to have the least pesticide contamination.
We talked about avoiding toxic chemicals while Green Your Lawn last week. We don’t want pesticides entering our bodies through our skin and we certainly don’t want to injest them. The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood.
The bottom line is that when it comes to pesticide use, there is more to consider than just the residues that you are ingesting. Although peeled foods such as mangoes, avocados and kiwis may spare the consumer from significant pesticide exposure, it is possible that large amounts of pesticides and herbicides are used on the farms from which these originate, contaminating groundwater, promoting erosion and otherwise damaging local ecosystems. To help promote the health of the planet as well as your own health, it’s best to buy organic whenever possible.
DIRTY DOZEN – Buy These Organic
- Bell Peppers
- Grapes (imported)
CLEAN 15 – Lowest in Pesticides
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potato
- Honeydew Melon
My Green Side’s weekly web pick:
EWG’s Food News
You can find a detailed description of the criteria the EWG used to develop these rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at their dedicated website, www.foodnews.org.
Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.